Saving While Moving Series
Part I: Save Money…with Savvy Preparations
Moving is a major life event that can turn your world upside-down. It indeed can be an exciting adventure, but between packing up and repairing your old home, re-stocking the pantry and buying furniture for your new home, as well as all the hotel, food and gas charges in between, it can also drain your bank accounts.
While moving can be very expensive, there are some cost-saving measures you can implement to keep your stress down and your savings high. Join us over the next two months as we share tried-and-true strategies for preparing for, executing, and recovering from a long-distance move in an organized and budget friendly fashion!
In this part of the Saving While Moving Series, we’re chatting all about ways to cut costs and save money in the preparation phase of a move!
Money-Saving Strategy: Make a Moving Budget
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Between the costs associated with repairing your current home, traveling between locations, and setting up a new place, it can become all too easy for your spending to spiral out of control. One of the best ways to keep costs in check is to create a moving budget. Several weeks before you are set to move, do some research to determine the cost of hiring movers, buying packaging materials, and renting a truck, as well as other moving-related expenses such as hotel rates, gas, and food costs. Record these estimates (as well as the actual costs as you incur them) on a printed worksheet or digital spreadsheet throughout the entire moving process so that you remain fully aware of your spending at all times. Whether you are given a stipend to cover moving expenses or you have to set aside savings to cover the costs, a pre-planned budget will ensure your move stays within reasonable bounds!
Money-Saving Strategy: Generate Extra Income
Because moves, especially long-distance ones, can be so costly, it helps to generate some extra income before the packers arrive at your door. An extra couple hundred dollars (or more!) can cover essentials like hotel and food bills or even help you buy that new couch for your new place!
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Sell Your Unwanted Stuff. One of the best ways to make some easy money is to purge and sell anything you don’t want or can’t use in your next place. Hold a yard sale a month before you move, and utilize Facebook selling groups and Craigslist to sell larger or higher-quality items. Set all of the profits aside for moving-related expenses or new home purchases. Not only does selling old or unwanted items put some cash in your pocket, but it will also reduce the overall expense of your move because when you have less stuff, fewer packing materials, movers, and truck space will be required! Don’t know where to start? Check out our de-cluttering tips here!
Cash in “Found” Money. Another way to generate some extra money is to cash in all checks, coins, and foreign currency before you move. Because we move every 1-3 years, we have gotten into the habit of holding onto all of our change in a single jar. When it’s time to move, we cash in our coins, and all that money goes straight toward moving expenses or vacations en route! Moving is also a perfect time to cash in credit card rewards points or gift cards (when possible). Having large-sum Visa gift cards to cover gas, tolls, and meals means those expenses don’t have to come out of your bank accounts!
Money-Saving Strategy: Invest in Packers and Materials
The actual cost of your move will greatly depend on how far you’re moving. Preparing your furniture and items to move across the country requires an entirely different level of packing than just moving them across town. Spending the money on proper packing materials and/or professional movers can sometimes be hard to swallow; however, these important expenses can save you time and money in the long-run by ensuring all of your items arrive intact and in working order at your new home.
Shop Ahead. If you know you have a move coming up, and you are going to pack your boxes yourself, shop for moving supplies early and frequently to take advantage of sales, coupons, and promotions. Items such as packing tape (and lots of it!), Ziploc bags (for food items, hardware, and other small, loose items), permanent markers, labels, packing paper/peanuts/foam, scissors, and boxes are all good items to pick-up when you see them for sale at a discount, with a coupon, or in bulk!
Look for Freebies! Packing supplies can be expensive, but are necessary if you want your possessions to arrive safely. To keep costs down, stock up on free supplies in the weeks/months leading up to your move. Keep any large, sturdy shipping boxes that arrive in the mail. Grocery and big-box stores often will give away empty boxes behind their stores – just ask! Keep packing peanuts and air pouches that come in your online-shopping boxes, and collect old newspapers wherever you see them. While you may have to buy some supplies, these small-scale savings can add up over time!
Use the Professionals. There are times when executing a move by yourself (or with the help of friends and family) is completely possible: you’re making a short-distance move, you don’t have a lot of stuff, or you can move over a long period of time. If you have a lot of items and heavy furniture, you need to move relatively quickly, and/or you are traveling a long-distance, hiring professional packers is usually worth the expense. To stretch your moving budget as far as possible: research companies, ask for quotes, ask about special offers/discounts/promotions, and compare prices. Another cost-saving solution is to only use the professionals for the load and transport of your household items. This means you provide the supplies and pack the boxes yourself, but the movers load all everything onto the truck, drive it where it needs to go, and unload it for you.
Money-Saving Strategy: Prepare Properly
When it comes to moving, proper preparation is really the key to an organized and budget-wise move. Pack your items well, and bring what non-perishables you can to eliminate replacement costs. Here are some important preparations to make:
- Disassemble your furniture and corral all important hardware and assembly manuals (this includes curtain rods, art, electronics). Taking the time to properly disassemble and organize cords/hardware/bits and pieces will eliminate the need for unnecessary replacement purchases on the other end.
- Service cars prior to driving long distances to reduce car troubles en route.
- Check credit scores, limits, and expiration dates so you can cover unexpected costs (which always happen) without trouble.
- Empty out and clean all food canisters to prevent leaking or pest invasions while items are in moving crates.
- Most moving companies will not (and do not recommend) packing liquids or foods in packing boxes. If you are making a door-to-door move, reduce pantry re-stocking costs by bagging up any non-perishable foods in tightly sealed bags and bringing them with you. Spices, pastas and grains, and baking supplies can all be safely transported without the need for special packaging or temperature controls. Do not place these items into boxes, no matter how well they are packed. Food items are best transported with you in the car.
- When possible, keep cleaning supplies with you (instead of in boxes or throwing them out). This not only eliminates the need to replace costly cleaning solutions at your new place, but will allow you to adequately clean your old home prior to checking out.
Moving, and the costs associated with it, can be alarming and stressful. Packing supplies, professional packers, and truck rentals alone can add up, not to mention the costs associated with damaged goods, travel expenses, and setting up a new home. With just a little bit of planning, preparation and budget-savvy shopping however, you can have a smooth move while keeping moving-related costs from sky-rocketing!
Be sure to join us in the next installment in this series: Saving Money…while Moving From Here to There!